A fully-loaded semi-truck is nearly a force of nature when in motion. Weighing in at as much as 80,000 pounds, or 40 tons, these monstrous machines require immense power to move and even more power to come to a stop, which is why proper brake maintenance and repair is crucial to operating one of these vehicles safely. A failure of the braking system on a large truck can quickly cause a serious truck accident, putting innocent lives at risk on the road.
Here is what you should know about truck brake failure accidents, how they happen, and how you can get help if you have been injured in an accident with a negligent truck driver.
Truck Brake Inspection Regulations
According to federal law, truck drivers are supposed to inspect their vehicles before they hit the road and may only operate the truck if they are satisfied that it will be safe to do so. This inspection is supposed to include a multi-point review and should include things like steering, lights, turn signals, reflectors, and the braking system of both the tractor and trailer portion of the vehicle. The driver is also expected to review the previous day’s inspection report. If a defect is found, the truck should not be driven until it is repaired.
Motor carriers are also required to inspect the entire vehicle periodically. In fact, the braking system is considered important enough that the law is clear about who may inspect the brakes—only a qualified brake inspector is allowed to perform a brake inspection, or the company is in violation of the law.
How Truck Brakes Fail and Cause Accidents
A failure to properly inspect brakes by the driver or the motor carrier company can cause worn or damaged braking components to be stressed past their limits and fail while in use. Failed brakes can cause a truck to be unable to slow down or apply braking unevenly, leading to a deadly imbalance that can send a 40-ton truck into a rollover crash or cause a loss of control. This may also happen when:
- Brake components or the airbrake system are installed improperly
- Drivers are improperly trained on the correct use of airbrakes
- Improper or irregular maintenance on brake systems
When accidents happen due to causes like these, the driver or the motor carrier may be held legally responsible for any injuries or deaths that occur as a result of failed truck brakes. However, in some situations, brake components themselves are faulty due to manufacturer defects, in which case the manufacturer may also be held responsible for damages.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you are hurt in an accident involving a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle, a personal injury attorney can help you review your legal options. Trucking accidents are often complex due to the number of local, state, and federal regulations surrounding motor carriers and commercial trucking. It is important to choose a personal injury attorney who has experience with commercial trucking and the numerous laws.
It is also important for victims to act fast, because truck companies work fast to repair defects in the vehicle before an inspection can be made to find the defect that caused the crash. A post-crash inspection, before any repairs are made, can provide crucial evidence for a civil lawsuit filed by victims who wish to be compensated for medical bills, physical therapy or rehabilitation, vehicle repair or replacement, and other crash-related expenses.
Get Legal Help Today
Wayne Wright LLP has been standing up for the rights of those who have been injured by the negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing of others for decades, and we want to help you and your family seek justice in a court of law. To get the legal help you need after an accident, call us by phone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page now to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional.